There is a light that never goes out. — The Smiths
Thinking of my northern city home today, a year on.
I am a woman who bought a one-way ticket to Manchester in 2009, to envision who I might be if I didn’t live in fear. Who might I be if I stepped into my own power? What might happen if, in a city symbolised by the worker bee, I threw everything I had into working hard for my lifelong dream of becoming a published writer? I didn’t know a soul there. I’d never been to the UK. I arrived utterly alone, clinging to my dream. And beautiful, gritty, glorious, big-hearted Manchester has given, and given, and given. On my fourth day there I met the love of my life. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in the home we've made there together, looking out to silver birch trees, blackbirds and robin red breasts in our garden; in cafes, libraries, pubs, and my favourite local park that centres around a heart-shaped lake. I’ve had the unique opportunity to volunteer with people who have been drawn there from all over the world, to share our stories, promote international friendship and cultural diversity; to create space and understanding for relationships with each other we otherwise wouldn’t have the same chance to experience. Because that’s what this beloved place and its people give us: the chance to find together our home away from home. Manchester is a diverse city, united.
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